Elon Musk is confident about sending people to Mars by 2025. In fact, the visionary SpaceX founder intends to travel into space within the next few years aboard his own rocket. Moreover, Musk’s company will reveal a next generation spacecraft that will make the journey to the Red Planet possible.
Speaking at the StartmeupHK Festival in Hong Kong this week, Elon Musk confirmed he expects to unveil plans for the spacecraft that would send humans to Mars. If that’s not ambitious enough, he added that his plans have a self-set deadline of a mere decade or less, depending on how fast his company can build the technology.
The founder of electric car company Tesla, as well as SpaceX — the company that harbors the ambition of ferrying people into space — mentioned he was “hoping to describe the architecture” of the spacecraft at the International Astronautical Conference in Mexico in late September, reported Fox News. Interestingly, he went on to mention that space travel to Mars is merely a precursor to fulfilling a much larger vision. Musk envisions a permanent city on Mars. Incidentally, Musk maintains that his desire to establish a colony on the Red Planet is partly driven by the need to ensure survival of the human race.
“It’s really a fundamental decision we need to make as a civilization. What kind of future do we want? Do we want one where we are forever confined to one planet until some eventual extinction event however far into the future that might occur or do we want to be a multi planet species and ultimately be out there among the stars, among many planets and many star systems?”
A self-sustaining colony on a planet other than Earth has always been discussed in science-fiction. However, Musk insists that building a city on Mars, in particular, is vital for mankind to ensure it survives whatever apocalyptic event that might occur in the distant future.
“Mars is the next natural step. In fact, it’s the only planet we have a shot at establishing a self-sustaining city on. Once we do establish such a city, there will be strong forcing function for the improvement of space flight technology that will then enable us to establish colonies elsewhere in the solar system and ultimately extend beyond our solar system.”
Interestingly, other than a possible guarantee against human extinction, Musk added that his goals are also meant to inspire people.
“This would be an incredible adventure. It would be exiting and inspiring, and there need to be things that excite and inspire people.”
Elon Musk admitted he is well aware of the risks involved in sending people to Mars. In fact, while SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Falcon rockets might have successfully delivered a lot of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS), the company has never ferried astronauts to the ISS or back. This is because the company’s rockets haven’t been certified for human transportation, reports Red Orbit. However, Musk must be pretty confident it is merely a formality and the necessary approvals could be procured soon, especially if he intends to travel to the ISS before 2020.
Asked about his plans to venture into space, he summarized them.
“I don’t know, maybe four or five years from now, maybe going to the Space Station would be nice. And in terms of the first flights to Mars, we’re hoping to do that around 2025. Nine years from now or thereabouts.”
Apparently, Musk has already taken a few “parabolic flights,” a specific flight pattern that simulates weightlessness to prepare for space, reported NBC News. With a continually developed capsule and proven rocket technology, Elon Musk could be one of the first space tourists to visit the ISS. However, will SpaceX be the first private company to send a rocket to Mars?
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